Published : 23 April 2014
320 pages
N° ISBN : 978-2-36956-001-2


Twenty days with David Livingstone

While crossing a part of Central Africa, two lovers become lost in a forest, but after finding their way back, they decide to get married in the nearby pygmy village, over a hundred miles after their starting point. 150 years earlier, the zealous missionary David Livingstone had been wandering through the savannah in search of the promised-land, a trading highway or some miraculous springs. Intertwining these two picturesque journeys, Guillaume Jan links the destiny of two Don Quixotes who, each in their own way, give their heart to the Black Continent.

The improvised wedding, decided during a chaotic journey, is the narrative backbone of the book. But this passionate love story is also a pretext to describe in detail and with humour the unbelievable daily life of the Congolese people. In parallel, the author draws the portrait of Doctor Livingstone. He shows us a lesser-known side of this original, stubborn, clumsy yet dreamy man who gets caught up in Africa to the point where his dying wish was for his heart to be buried there.

Traîne-savane plunges us into the depths of contemporary Africa. It shares with us the romantic or hallucinated visions of 19th century explorers. It also sheds light on a great explorer, bravely engaged in impossible fights, a man that the British Empire almost forgot, until Stanley found him on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and spoke out his legendary “Doctor Livingstone, I presume…” Strangely enough, no serious biography of the Scottish missionary had ever been written in French before.